I found out about Jakop Ahlbom’s show Horror through a post on this here website, and as soon as I read up on it, I bought tickets. I’m a huge fan of theatre anyway, especially the darker side of the stage like The Woman in Black and Ghost Stories.
Personally, I don’t think there’s enough gruesomeness on stage. But I do believe, with the success that The Woman in Black has had over its twenty-seven years, that there is a huge audience for it. So it frustrates me to hear that shows like Horror are only on for a few weeks.
I recently went to see The Whisper House at The Other Palace Theatre. It was good, but came nowhere close to my opinion of Horror which I personally feel is in a whole different league.
It’ll have you begging for more throughout the uninterrupted eighty-minutes as it cleverly combines scares, gore, humour and just darn good horror! Because of this brilliant concoction it reminds me of The Cabin in the Woods (2012) which is one of my favourite horror movies of recent years.
Horror is the story of a young woman who returns to her childhood home along with her boyfriend and friend. The audience soon learn what a tragic past resides in the house and her evil parents and twin sister now haunt them and relive their sadistic, torturous non-existence within those four walls.
I read a few reviews which complain that the storyline isn’t well enough explained. I find this bizarre as my Mum (who I went with) hadn’t even read the blurb on the leaflet but still knew what was going on.
I should mention that before going I wasn’t aware that the entire play would be mime but wow… even more reason to give the show credit. The acting is superb and the props and hidden trap doors on and off the stage allow the ‘ghosts’ to literally pop up all over the place. The gore element is plentiful and fun, and among the few scares that are thrown in, I physically jumped in my seat at one of them (which is a rare occurrence).
I love the references to popular cult movies like the smashing through a door with a hammer from The Shining (1980), the creepy dark-haired girl crawling through a TV screen from The Ring (2002) and the possessed head spin from The Exorcist (1973) to name a few.
I’ve never seen such awesome special effects done on stage (like the evil father shoving not only his hand but entire arm down some poor guys throat). I loved the big screen that was hiding within the wall of the house that allowed us to take a different perspective of the show during the most terrifying parts.
The freakiest thing for me was the superb job of the twin sisters who do that creepy-staggered-walk thing that is usually constructed on-screen using complex editing techniques – to see it done live on stage will give me nightmares for a long time! A contortionist does a great job at doing the terrifying ‘spider-walk’ down a set of stairs (think The Last Exorcism (2010), The Unborn (2009) or of course, The Exorcism). In fact, just thinking back to these scenes reminds me how much I enjoyed the show and what a superb job Jakop Ahlbom did at directing it.
I’m truly gutted that it all ends this weekend (10th June), as I would genuinely love to go and see it again. I always watch my favourite horror movies two or three times, and this would be no different. I really feel as though I’m missing out by only seeing it once.
I urge you to get tickets before it’s too late as I fear there won’t be anything like it again for a while.
By Steph Boddy (@steph_boddy)
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